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Calendula (Calendula officinalis)



Common name: Calendula

Latin name: Calendula officinalis

Family: Asteraceae (Daisy family)


Plant description: A bright orange flowering annual grown in many gardens all over the world. Some people refer to calendula as a marigold but it is NOT actually a marigold. There are multiple varieties of Calendula ranging from pale yellow to dark rich orange in colour.


Actions: Anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-spasmodic, warming, lymphatic, vulnerary

Uses: It's vulnerary properties aid in the healing of wounds, burns, bites, rashes burns and other skin abrasions. Due to it's anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties it will help reduce swelling and infections. It relieve itching from rashes, bites and stings and can also ease nettle sting. We use plantain and Calendula infused oil in our soothing skin salve to relive itching, from bites and rashes and to speed recovery. Calendula can also aid in reducing diaper rash in infants, as well as repairing skin tissue. This can also help with reducing scars, and speeding up wound recovery! You can also use a calendula tincture or mouth wash to reduce inflammation of the tonsils and other oral infections. Like inflamed or irritated gums. Creams, ointments and salves are a great way to keep calendula on hand for a quick and easy to use skin aid. If you have very dry inflamed skin, infusing calendula in coconut oil or vitamin E oil is a great way to relieve pain and speed recovery. A tincture can also be taken internally to relieve symptoms of eczema.


Safety: If you are sensitive to other plants in the daisy (Asteraceae) family you may have a sensitivity to Calendula. Test a small area of skin on your hand incase of allergic reaction.


Dose: Infusion can be used for a mouth rinse or as a compress to effected area. Make a strong infusion but steeping 5-10 mg of dried calendula in 8 oz. of water THe longer it sits (up to 15 minutes) the stronger the infusion will be. You can also use a tincture for a highly concentrated dose taking 1-4 ml 3x per day.


Growing/Foraging: You can often find calendula seedlings at most garden centers or nurseries. Calendula is an annual so you can collect and save the seeds to replant the following spring or purchase young plants at a garden center. The flowers are often harvested in summer, during the day when flowers are fully open and resin concentration is highest. The seeds are collected in the fall or throughout the summer as flowers die back. After harvest it is best to dry calendula in the shade, as the sun can deteriorate the medicinal properties of the flower. This takes anywhere from 2 weeks to 1 month depending on the humidity and how wet the flowers were when harvested. Calendula prefers full sun, does well in all soil types but prefers a well draining rich soil. You can plant calendula in rows (according to the organic medicinal farmer, by: Jeff Carpenter and Melanie Carpenter) rows should be about 36 inches apart and plants in single rows. If you only want to harvest a handful of flowers or grow them for their beauty they make a great companion plant for Potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, peas and carrots. It helps to attract pollinators and repel unwanted insects.





Resources:

-Herbal academy introductory herbal course, Monographs.

-Encyclopedia of herbal medicine, by : Andrew Chevallier, (pg 73)

-The organic Medicinal Herb Farmer By: Jeff Carpenter with Melanie Carpenter, (pg's. 277-280)

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